The start of the academic year can be a challenging time, regardless of if you are new to LSE or a returning student. It could be your first time living away from home, you could feel a bit lost in London or you may have realised just how much work you have to do! We would always encourage you to reach out and speak to someone if you are having problems of any nature, no matter how big or small you think they are. As well as speaking to your own support network (friends, family, colleagues), there are also a number a sources of support at LSE who you can speak to.
LSE has a number of trained professional counsellors who work in the Student Counselling Service. They offer a private and confidential space where you can discuss any concerns with your mental health and personal life. They are based on campus (although currently operating mainly remotely due to Covid-19 social distancing measures) and can provide up to six free sessions. As well as running one-to-one sessions, they also put on a range of workshops throughout the year on topics like anxiety and mindfulness.
The school has a Peer Support Scheme which can put you in touch with other students to speak to about any issues you are having. They are trained student volunteers who can offer support in a less “professional” capacity as they will be experiencing, or have experienced, similar issues to yourself. This is a great way of speaking to someone who is more on your level and can act as a good listener.
If your concern is more study related and you feel as though you are not coping or having difficulties with managing your workload or your study skills, LSE Life would be good to reach out too. They are a service which helps students with developing study-related skills and supporting with issues in their academic journey. They offer 1-on-1 appointments as well as workshops on a range of topics. They are a great contact for any non-department specific academic issues. They may be able to offer you some suggestions on how to manage your workload or study more effectively.
It is only natural that issues in your personal life will impact your academics. If you feel as though this is the case, you may want to reach out to your department. You do not need to share any more than you are comfortable with but it may be useful for the department to know so that they can work with and support you. This is an especially good idea around assessments and deadlines. You should all have an Academic Adviser who would be a good first contact.
While we do not explicitly provide mental health support in the LSESU Advice Team, our advisers will be more than happy to speak to you about any concerns you are having and may be able to offer suggestions or point you in the right direction for who you could consider speaking to.
All of the above services operate in a confidential manner, however you may feel more comfortable speaking to someone external to the school.
- Mind: Mind are a UK charity who provide advice and support to anyone who is experiencing a mental health concern of any magnitude. They have a fantastic website with lots of useful advice as well as a dedicated phone helpline.
- Student Minds: Student Minds is a UK mental health charity specifically designed for students. They have a great range of information resources on issues which all students face, such as exam stress, the transition to university life or PhD student concerns.
- NHS: You can also access mental health services via the NHS. You will need a GP referral to do so. In our experience, there can be a long waiting list for these so it would be good to ask your GP for a rough timeframe.
There are also a range of charities who specialise in specific issues, such as for parents, suicide prevention, carers, alcohol/substance abuse, LGBTQ+, sexual violence or more. The NHS has a useful list of these here.
Every support service operates within a confidential framework. This means that anything discussed remains private and is not shared with anyone outside of the service (such as your department or family) without your consent. The only exception to this is if there is if something of an exceptional nature is disclosed, such as if there is a concern that there is a serious risk of harm to yourself or other people.
Blog written by Declan Katwala.
Declan is the Student Advisor in the LSE Students’ Union and a member of the Advice Team.
The LSESU Advice Team
Impartial. Supportive. Confidential.
The LSESU Advice Team is based on the 3rd floor of the Saw Swee Hock Building and we provide free, independent and confidential advice to all LSE students on academic and housing matters. We also administer the Hardship Fund, the Childcare Fund and the Graduation Gown Support Fund (GGSF).
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation we will not be on campus for Michaelmas Term. However, we are still open and can instead be accessed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book a telephone or Zoom appointment with an adviser through Student Hub.